GENERIC NAME: isosorbide dinitrate
BRAND NAMES: Isordil, Isordil Titradose, Dilatrate-SR
DRUG CLASS AND MECHANISM: Isosorbide dinitrate is in the class of drugs called nitrates, and it is used for treating and preventing angina or heart pain. Other nitrates include nitroglycerin (Nitrostat, Nitroquick, Nitrolingual, Nitro-Dur and others) and isosorbide mononitrate (Imdur, Ismo, Monoket). Isosorbide dinitrate is converted in the body to isosorbide mononitrate which is the active chemical.
Nitrates are vasodilators (dilators of blood vessels). Blood returning from the body in the veins must be pumped by the heart through the lungs and into the body's arteries against the high pressure in the arteries. In order to accomplish this work, the heart's muscle must produce and use energy ("fuel"), and this requires oxygen. Angina pectoris (angina) or "heart pain" is due to an inadequate flow of blood (and oxygen) to the muscle of the heart. Nitrates, including isosorbide dinitrate, improve the flow of blood and oxygen to the heart and reduce the work that the heart must do by dilating (expanding) the arteries and veins in the body. Dilation of the veins reduces the amount of blood that returns to the heart that must be pumped. Dilation of the arteries lowers the pressure in the arteries against which the heart must pump. As a consequence of both effects, the heart works less and requires less blood and oxygen. In addition, nitrates dilate the arteries that supply the heart with blood so that the heart receives more blood and oxygen. The FDA approved isosorbide dinitrate in January 1968.
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